29 September 2005 11:55 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The first October paraxylene (PX) settlement in Europe was agreed on Thursday at Euro905/tonne free delivered (FD) Northwest Europe (NWE) - up Euro140/tonne or 18% on September, a source at the purchasing company said.
The deal was agreed between ExxonMobil, BP Refining and Petrochemicals (BPRP) and a Dutch buyer, the customer said.
BPRP confirmed the agreement, which was more or less in line with market expectations. "It is a fair compromise," a company official said. The Asian price of around $1,000/tonne cost and freight (CFR) Asia Pacific is relatively low, but the US price is high and Europe is tight, the source said.
Thetre was no-one immediately available for comment at ExxonMobil.
A source at paraxylene buyer Advansa, however, said the price was not a fair one and it was just "storing up problems for the next settlement. It’s Euro40/tonne the wrong side of Asia," the source said, referring to the reports of an Asian agreement at $1,000/tonne CFR Asia Pacific.
The tightness in the European market has driven price expectations upward over the past few days.
Customers of ExxonMobil said its force majeure on paraxylene in Europe following problems at Botlek, Netherlands continued with 70% of regular volumes delivered until 1 October when normal supplies should be resumed.
In France, Total’s 135,000 tonne/year paraxylene and 110,000 tonne/year orthoxylene (OX) units at Gonfreville remained shut on Thursday after strike action closed the refinery and the reformer, blocking feedstock for the plants. It was not clear whether toluene and benzene production at the site was affected. The strike, over a pay demand, has been running for just over a week with no immediate end in sight. A force majeure declaration may have been made on paraxylene, but this has not yet been confirmed.
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